RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — In the wake of another mass shooting in Virginia, House Democrats say they will propose gun control measures next year.
The Democratic caucus in the House of Delegates announced plans Wednesday to introduce bills for the next Virginia General Assembly session — which begins Jan. 11, 2023 — to prohibit the use of ghost guns and put restrictions on high-capacity magazines.
The pledge from Virginia House Democrats comes after a mass shooting at a Walmart in Chesapeake where police say a manager killed six people Tuesday night before taking his own life.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to every victim and their families. But thoughts and prayers without action are empty. Enough is enough,” the caucus said in a statement. “We can do better than just thoughts and prayers in Virginia.”
The statement added that the caucus would support proposals that would put age limits on certain firearms and that would increase the gun industry’s accountability.
Virginia House Democrats said they will also seek to empower “communities and community based organizations to deal with the crippling effects of poverty, our lack of mental health resources, and to create more youth engagement programs.”
Gov. Glenn Youngkin addressed the shooting in Chesapeake, telling reporters Wednesday that he wants to increase Virginia’s mental health resources.
A spokesperson for the governor didn’t respond to a request for a comment regarding the Democrats’ statement, instead referring 8News to Youngkin’s response when asked whether he was open to legislation that would impose gun restrictions.
Youngkin said Wednesday he felt it was “not the time” to discuss the proposals, citing the need to support families and communities impacted.
“When the facts come in at the end of all the investigations, then we’ll have time to come together and talk about what actions we can take,” he said.
Tuesday’s shooting came after three University of Virginia students on the school’s football team were fatally shot, and two others were hurt on a charter bus after a field trip on Nov. 13. It also follows a mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Colorado that left five people dead.
Before Republicans took the House of Delegates, Democrats used their majority to pass sweeping gun control measures. Among other bills, the party passed a “red flag” law and expanded background checks.
Democrats tried to pass a ban on “ghost guns,” homemade firearms, and plastic guns assembled using 3D printers, but those efforts failed to get enough support.
With Republicans now in control of the House of Delegates and Youngkin in office, it appears unlikely that any of the measures Democrats plan to bring forward will be signed into law.
The Democratic caucus in the Virginia Senate, which has a slim majority in the chamber, released a statement not long after House Democrats did Wednesday. In it, Senate Democrats said it was time to “collectively come together” to help end gun violence but didn’t put forward any specific proposals for the 2023 legislative session.
“We are beyond the point of ‘thoughts and prayers,’ and we should all agree that enough is simply enough,” the caucus wrote in its statement. “We must collectively come together to end gun violence in the Commonwealth of Virginia. It’s the reasonable and sensible thing to do.”